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DCNR To Hold Public Meeting on Rec. Plan

What does the future hold for outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania? How will the state meet the demands of a growing and changing population, while maintaining and improving a vast and varied recreation infrastructure?

The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and partners is in the process of updating Pennsylvania’s five-year outdoor recreation plan, and would like to hear what you think about the draft recommendations contained in the plan. Are we addressing your top recreation concerns and wishes? The feedback of those who live and work in urban areas is of particular importance in the development and implementation of the plan.

Please join representatives from DCNR for a public open house hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on Tuesday, October 7, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the PHS Town Hall , 100 North 20th Street, first floor. 

Stop by at 5 p.m. for some refreshments and a tour of the new PHS offices. DCNR will give a brief overview of the recreation plan at 5:30, and then invites you to visit five “priority stations” where you can learn more and provide your feedback.

Feel free to share this invitation with your staff, colleagues, board or members, as well as friends and family members of all ages. The more proponents of outdoor recreation that express their opinions, the better!

More information on the 2014-18 PA Outdoor Recreation Plan, including background and research findings, is available at www.paoutdoorrecplan.com.

The draft recommendations to be discussed at the public meeting will be posted on Oct. 6. Please RSVP by Friday, October 3rd.

Click here to register or call 215.988.1698.

Tags: DCNR

Manayunk Bridge Construction Mobilization Update

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Next to the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, the project that most trail enthusiasts are waiting for to kick off is the much anticipated construction of the trail over Manayunk Bridge.  The contractor responsible for the Manayunk Bridge trail job, AP Construction, has been working since July (when the Notice to Proceed was issued by the Philadelphia Streets Department) on pre-construction tasks.

Before construction can begin, AP needs to remove contaminated soil, demolish a portion of bridge over the Norfolk Southern lilne and coordinate with SEPTA on fencing and other matters.   They are making progress on all three fronts. Once complete, with those logistics, they can start regular construction.

AP has opened their field office on Green Lane.

Meanwhile, a ceremonial groundbreaking date has been set for October 28th at 11am. 

Technical Assistance Grants Available

Here's an opportunity for those trail advocates who are working on a project that would benefit a K-8 school.  We received this email from Safe Routes to School Partnership.

If you are working to make streets safer or to increase access to playgrounds and parks so that children and families in your community can have more opportunities for physical activity – we can help! 

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership can assist your efforts to make your community a place where kids can easily be active and healthy.  We are offering free technical assistance to successful applicants working in underserved communities on campaigns to obtain shared use agreements, Complete Streets policies, or other policies in support of walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School.  

Technical assistance can range from providing resources, to assisting with the creation of campaign plans and platforms, to developing communications strategies and coaching to ensure a successful campaign.  Your plans can either be in the early stages or nearing policy adoption.  Successful applicants will receive technical assistance over the next eight months.
 
How to Apply
Simply describe your community need in detail on the application form and our staff of experts will assess and work with each successful applicant to help you achieve your goals. Click here for more information.

Applications are due September 26th, 2014, by 5pm ET. 
 
If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Mikaela Randolph, shared use campaign manager: .


Forge to Refuge & Cross County Public Meetings

Two Circuit trail segments are undergoing feasibility studies.  Radnor Township is conducting the Forge to Refuge Trail (East and West) feasibility study and Plymouth Township/Montgomery County are jointly conducting the feasibility study for the Cross County Trail between Germantown Pike and Joshua Road.  Both studies are contracted to Campbell Thomas & Company.

There are two upcoming meetings worth attending if you are interested in providing input on the alignment of these trails.

September 15th, 7pm - Forge to Refuge (East) - Bartram's Garden, Philadelphia 

October 7th, 7pm - Cross County Trail - Greater Plymouth Community Center, 2910 Jolly Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA.


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October Groundbreakings for Manayunk Bridge & Baxter Trail

The North Delaware Baxter Trail groundbreaking has been set for October 14th at 11am.

The Manayunk Bridge groundbreaking will occur October 28th at 11 am.


What Makes a Circuit Trail?

Are all trails in the Greater Philadelphia region part of the Circuit?  Not necessarily.  And not all trail segments that are on the Circuit web map are part of the Circuit.  Those trail segments on the web map that are part of the Circuit are indicated so by the Circuit logo when scrolled over.  In order to help clarify what makes a Circuit Trail, the Circuit Coalition steering committee adopted the following criteria. 

Circuit Trail Criteria:
  1. Trail is off-road (with some exceptions)
  2. 10 feet minimum, preferably 12 feet (with some exceptions)
  3. Multi-purpose
  4. Preferably paved (with some exceptions)
  5. Connects to already approved Circuit trails
 
Anyone interested in nominating a trail or trail segment to become part of the Circuit should follow these steps. 
 
  1. Submit letter and map addressed to Chris Linn clinn@dvrpc.org
  2. Chris will provide a recommendation for review to Circuit Coalition Steering Committee

Camden County Parks Widens the Cooper River Trail

Construction crews are finishing up the widening of the of the Cooper River Trail between Grove St and Colwell Ave in Cherry Hill.

The trail segment which connects Greenwald Memorial Park with Challenge Grove park was poorly marked and maintained. The pathway is now 10 feet wide and completes a walking loop between Haddonfield and Cherry Hill via the Evans Pond Dam and the sidewalk of Kings Highway.

In other news the County has a submitted a Transportation Alternatives proposal for bike lanes on North Park Drive between Route 130 andthe east end of Park Drive near the NJ TRANSIT/Conrail underpass. The proposal as written in the Cooper River Park Safe Access plan includes the first bike lanes in the region with a buffer on the right to prevent dooring. The conceptual plan also proposes for bike boxes at Cuthbert Blvd. Transportation Alternatives funds are competitive so there is no guarantee that money for the bike lanes would be awarded this year.

West of Route 130 a short section of trail funded by the Regional Trails Program is nearing design completion and should go out for bid sometime later this year or perhaps early 2015.

    • Cooper River Trail Cherry Hill
    • Conceptual Drawing Park Blvd and Cuthbert
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Circuit Gets Attention in PA TIP

Thanks for speaking up!  In June, we asked Circuit supporters to submit comment to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Board. The response was terrific!  The Board received 218 comments in support of Circuit projects and more funding for the Circuit in future years.  On July 24th, the DVRPC Board adopted the $10.5 Billion 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Pennsylvania.

The final draft of the TIP now explicitly commits $1 Million in federal funds in FY18 for Circuit projects during the next selection round of projects for the Transportation Alternatives Program. While this is a good first step, the Circuit needs more funding in order to be built out by 2040.  

More importantly, the TIP states that a PA Circuit Working Group has now been created "to better understand the relative status of all projects in the Circuit trail universe, set priorities, and be prepared to take advantage of funding opportunities when they arise."  This group will "develop a collective understanding of which Circuit trail projects are ready for construction, the level of resources needed to complete those projects and potential sources of funding."  This new commitment by DVRPC to proactively and strategically consider how to advance Circuit projects is an important step in the right direction.

A pdf of the TIP is here

A searchable map of the TIP projects is here.

Public comments and responses are not yet available, but are expected to be posted on the DVRPC website.

Tags: DVRPC

Regional TAP funds three Circuit Trail Projects

On Thursday, June 26th, the board of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Comission approved the awarding of federal "Transportation Alternatives Program" funding to three Circuit trail segments.  

Here are some more details about what the awards will do for the Circuit.

  1. Neshaminy Greenway (Bucks) ($800,000) -- This project begins at Lenape Lane in Chalfont Borough and continues through New Britain Township, along the Creekside Open Space and into New Britain Borough at the Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve.  It then connects through the Goldeneye Open Space to the Nesahminy Greenway Trail (NGT) at the Upper State Road in Doylestown.  The section of the NGT to the east will be under construction in 2015. The section to the west is fully funded for design and construction and will also be under construction in 2015.  The trail will be an ADA compliant, 10' wide, paved shared use trail.
  2. Liberty Trail (Montgomery) ($635,000) -- This project will design and construct multiuse trail connections in the Landsdale Borough from the Madison Development to the Stoney Creek Park to help complete the Liberty Trail.  The proposed construction will extend the trail through Lansdale Borough to the neighboring municipalities of Hatfield Township and Upper Gwynedd Township.
  3. Solebury Route 202 Gateway (Bucks) ($980,859) -- The Bucks County Route 202 Cross County Trail begins in Solebury and the Township has completed Engineering and permits for 4 trail segments.  Two have been constructed between the D&L Trail and the intersection of Routes 202-179.  Developer fees will construct the segment from 202-179-Kitchens Lane to 202-Sugan Road.  This grant will buidl the structurally intensive Route 32 segment to creat a completly off-road trail between these destinations. The project includes a road diet, new off-road trail segment, a new pedestrian crossing, and interpretive signage.
Tags: TAP

Take Action to Encourage Future Funding of the Circuit

Periodically, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) issues a four year capital transportation budget (Transportation Improvement Program or TIP) for the five Pennsylvania counties.  It provides detail on which transportation projects will be funded using a combination of federal, state and local dollars.

The Circuit Coalition has been urging the DVRPC to dedicate more funding to Circuit projects.  In February 2014, the Circuit Coalition delivered 2000 postcards and petition signators who called for more funding of the Circuit.

The Draft Pennsylvania TIP does contain funding for nine Circuit trail projects.  But, the amount of funding dedicated to those projects over a four year period is only 0.9% of the total TIP budget.  DVRPC did commit an additional $1M toward the Circuit in Year 2018.

While DVRPC deserves to be commended for committing an additional funding toward the Circuit, we also need to encourage the region to make a larger investment in future years. There are 61 Circuit projects in the five Southeastern PA counties that need design and construction funding and many of them will need to be placed onto the TIP in the coming years.  If the Circuit is going to be fully built out over the next 25 years,  more funding needs to be dedicated for trail segments.

DVRPC is accepting public comments on the draft Pennsylvania TIP by June 30th.  Please take a moment to submit a comment to DVRPC calling for additional funding in the future in order to successfully build out the Circuit by 2040.

    • circuitmilesbycounty
Tags: funding

Connecting the Circuit: Progress Since 2012

Time flies by!  In May 2012, we joined numerous other partners to launch this website and a new name for the region’s trail network: the Circuit.  Two years later, we are pleased to produce a 2014 progress report (8 Facts to Know About the Circuit) on how the region is building out this remarkable trail network.

Here are some of the highlights contained in our progress report:

  • 275 miles of the Circuit are complete; with 445 miles remain to be built.
  • 30 miles were built since January 2012.
  • Exciting new trail segments that are slated to be completed within the next three years include: The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, the Manayunk Bridge and the Ben Franklin Bridge ramp.
  • There are 75 trail segments that have been studied, but need design and construction funding.
  • The Circuit needs more investment. Currently, our 9 county area has only invested less than 1% of its collective federal transportation dollars for the Circuit. If the region builds 18 miles of trail a year, it can finish the Circuit by 2040. But a greater regional investment is needed to meet that goal.

Tell Congress Why Biking/Walking/Transit Belongs in TIGER

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    • Boardwalk June 6 2014
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TIGER is a critical competitive federal grant program that helped build the Connector Bridge, the Schuylkill Banks boarkwalk, the SRT segment in Shawmont, the Port Richmond Trail, the SRT at Bartrams Garden, Walnut Street Bridge, 58th Street Greenway, and bike lanes in Camden. Now, the House Republicans want to ban biking/walking and transit projects from being eligible from TIGER funding.

If it weren't for TIGER, the Circuit would be back in the dark ages.  

Tell your Congressman what you think of this brilliant idea by sending a quick email via our friends at Rails to Trails Conservancy.

And click through the photos of the progress being made on the Boardwalk since last summer to appreciate the magnificence of TIGER!

Tags: TIGER

Manayunk Bridge Trail Construction to Start Soon

Earlier this week, the City of Philadelphia awarded a $4.1 million contract to A.P. Construction to build a multi-purpose trail on one of the Circuit’s hallmark segments: the Manayunk Bridge.  This long-awaited project is finally moving into the construction phase.  It will take six to eight weeks before construction actually begins and approximately one year for the project to be completed.

When complete, the Manayunk Bridge will be the first pedestrian/bicycle-only bridge crossing the Schuylkill River (Sullivan’s Bridge will join the crowd when it is completed in 2016). It will provide a much-needed connection between two riverfront communities (Lower Merion Township and Manayunk); open up an inactive railroad asset to the public and provide spectacular views of the Schuylkill River and Manayunk; and provide a new and important transportation option for students, employers and employees who live and work in LMT or Manayunk/Roxborough. Lastly, it will add considerable value to the Cynywd Heritage Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail by connecting them together. Ultimately, the trail will continue to the Ivy Ridge Station and, we hope, to Shawmont, where it will connect with the paved portion of the Schuylkill River Trail.

The project received funding from many sources:  study and design funds were provided by Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the William Penn Foundation, plus the Regional Trail Fund administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.  Capital funds were provided by the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program ($204,000); state/federal funding from the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative ($2,400,000), plus an additional $1,500,000 from PennDOT.

Many partners worked very hard to make this project possible. SEPTA, Lower Merion Township, Philadelphia Streets Department, Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and several non-profits including the William Penn Foundation, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Schuylkill Project, Manayunk Dev. Corp and Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  The trail design was conducted by Whitman Requardt and Associates and overseen by the Schuylkill Project

What started as an idea by some passionate residents of Lower Merion and Manayunk in the mid-2000s is in the final stages of become real.  Lots of people have ideas, but it’s usually up to some industrious worker bees to get stuff done.  We can’t wait to take our first steps and ride on the bridge.  It  will undoubtedly be spectacular!


- First published at http://bicyclecoalition.org/manayunk-bridge-construction-start-soon/#sthash.OaDHwRnt.dpuf


Take a Ride on the Circuit During National Trails Month

In celebration of National Trail Month, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council will be hosting several guided trail rides during the month of June. Tickets for each event range from $10 to $18, depending on the particular event and time of purchase, and include a post-ride lunch. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/pecnationaltrailmonth.

Sunday June 8, 2014, 8:30 AM to 1 PM: Cooper River Trail Ride

Saturday, June 14, 2014, 10 AM to 2 PM: Schuylkill River Trail Ride

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 8:30 AM to 2 PM: 202 Parkway Trail Ride

Saturday, June 28, 2014, 10 AM to 1 PM: Cobbs Creek Trail Walk (on foot)


You can also explore the Circuit with the Bicycle Coalition during Trails Month on these two rides:

Friday, June 20th, Longest Day of the Year Ride

Saturday, June 29th, Petty's Island Ride

These two rides are Bicycle Coalition members only events.  Not a member of the Bicycle Coalition? You can join for a special rate of $20 by registering for a ride.  

More rides and walks are planned for August through November.  Check them out here.


Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway To Host Bike Train Excursions June 7th and 8th

This weekend (June 7th and 8th) the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in conjunction with Pocono Biking will be hosting bike train excursions between Jim Thorpe and White Haven. Dropping off bicyclists at the White Haven trailhead of the Delaware and Lehigh Trail for a 25 mile rail trail ride back to Jim Thorpe. There will be two departures each day at 10 AM and 2PM. Tickets and bike rentals can be secured with advanced reservation only. For more info go to http://poconobiking.com/trails/train-and-bike/

Pocono Biking has also expanded their bike shuttle service to include the Black Diamond and "Appalachian Trail" (Jim Thorpe to Cementon in Lehigh County) sections of the D&L. It is now possible during a weekend stay in Jim Thorpe to explore the entire 60 mile northern section of the D&L in the (slightly) downhill direction without riding out and back.

There are numerous lodgings in Jim Thorpe. Another outfitter in downtown Jim Thorpe, Blue Mountain Sports offers bike rentals and shuttles for the Lehigh Gorge as well as the more challenging Switchback Trail. Finally there is daily direct bus service between Jim Thorpe and Philadelphia via Susquehanna Trailways. You will want to a rent a bike if you choose the bus to avoid the hassle of boxing and unboxing your bike.

    • White Haven Trailhead

June Events #onthecircuit


May and June: Secrets of the Schuylkill Boat Tour
May and June: Boat to Bartram's Garden
May 31: Walnut2Walnut Boat Race/Scavenger Hunt
May 31: Frankford Creek Cleanup
June 1: Cynwyd Heritage Trail Trot 5K

June 6: Pennypack Extension Groundbreaking
June 7: Schuylkill Sojourn
June 7: Schuylkill Shinding
June 8: Cooper River Trail Ride
June 8: Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tour
June 12: Schuylkill Banks Movie Night - Rocky
June 13: Spring Garden Street Greenway/Penn Street Tour & Happy Hour
June 14: Schuylkill River Trail Ride
June 17: Trail Tuesdays: Fuel Your Drive (Cynwyd Trail)
June 19: Schuylkill Banks Movie Night - Despicable Me 2
June 20: Longest Day of the Year Ride to Manayunk Solstice Fires
June 21: Cynwyd Trail Workday
June 21: Cresheim Trail Workday
June 21: 202 Parkway Ride
June 26: Schuylkill Banks Movie Night - Rushmore
June 28: Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tour
June 28: Cobbs Creek Trail Walk
June 29: Petty's Island Ride


Flooding Closes Race St. Crossing Gates on Schuylkill Banks

Philadelphia's Streets Department issued the following notice about the Race Street crossing gates, which have been closed since April 30th.  

NEWS ITEM DETAIL
 
ALERT
05/27/2014
Race Street Railroad Gates Closure

Due to the severe flooding that occurred on April 30, the automatic  gates at the Race Street crossing were severely damaged. The gates will be closed until repairs can be made. The two pedestrian crossings are unique in the U.S. and require complex repairs. The gates cannot be left open as this would be unsafe to pedestrians and cyclists. 

To access the Schuylkill River trail, citizens are urged to use the access ramp at Market Street, the stairway at John F. Kennedy Boulevard or the access point on Martin Luther King Drive across from the Art Museum.

Due to the severity of the damage, repairs to the gate may take several months to troubleshoot, order new equipment and schedule installation and testing. The Streets Department apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks citizens in advance for their patience and cooperation during the closure.

http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/newsroom/news-item-detail/race-street-railroad-gates-closure


Come Help Clean Up Frankford Creek with TTF!

On May 31 from 9AM-1PM the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership will be running a cleanup effort in Frankford Creek! The cleanup will take place at Hunting Park and O Street in Philadelphia

The Frankford Creek greenway will connect Tacony Creek Park's new trail to the Port Richmond Trail, and in preparation for this new community asset, TTF is partnering with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, the Greenbelt Overhaul Alliance of Levittown, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Philadelphia Water Department, and PPR to clean up a large illegal dump site. TTF will provide the dumpsters and equopment, you provide the elbow grease and enthusiasm! Because of the physical nature of this project and the materials we will be moving, all volunteers must be age 16 and up. Please wear closed toe shoes and long pants and be prepared to work!


Circuit Semi-Annual Meeting Presentations

The Circuit Coalition had a great semi-annual meeting on Thursday, May 15th.  Thanks to all who attended and all who presented.

Here are the powerpoint presentations in case you missed the meeting or want to see them again.


Circuit Coalition member logos slide

Progress in Building out the Circuit (Chris Linn-DVRPC)

Circuit Commitment Update (Jody Holton - Montgomery County Planning)

Circuit Youth Engagement Report (Akram Abad - RTC)

Lessons Learned from TIGER projects (Chris Stanford - Michael Baker Associates)

DVRPC Initiatives on permanent and cyclical bike/ped counting (Shawn Megill Legendre & Cassidy Boulan - DVRPC)

Friends of Cynwyd Trail & Lankenau Hospital joint programming - summer 2014


Sign up for the Third Annual Cynwyd Trail Trot 5K

Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail will be holding their third annual Trail Trot 5K Community Run on Sunday, June 1st on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail! The race will raise money to help support improvements to the trail. Information on the event is listed below:


Time:  Check in is at 8:00a. Race starts at 9:00a.

Location: Barmouth Station Trailhead (end of Levering Mill Rd after crossing Belmont Ave)

Parking: Barmouth Station Trailhead, Bala Cynwyd Playground, and Cynwyd Train Station

Awards: Male and Female Overall, plus six age groups including 18 & under; all runners receive a T-SHIRT before! Water on the course and a postrun snack for all runners, too.

Price: $25 online before May 31, $30 day-of event

Contact: , Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.


Register online.

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e96quybx867c1a7a&llr=6zqdpbjab


Contact us at  or visit our website at www.cynwydtrail.org/trailtrot/ for more details.